Indian Mobile Carriers Add 8.4M Subs
Indian operators are routinely racking up more than 8 million new mobile customers every month, and February was no exception, with 8.42 million additions bringing the country's total subscriber base to 246 million.
According to figures collected by GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India and CDMA organization Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) , India’s nine GSM operators added 6.26 million users and four CDMA operators added 2.16 million. That was slightly less than in January, when they added a total of 8.77 million. (See A Guide to India's Telecom Operators.)
Table 1: Indian mobile subscribers for Feb
|Operator||Subscribers added in February||Total subscribers|
|Source: Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI)|
Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), India’s largest mobile operator, added 2.25 million GSM subscribers to take its total base to 59.7 million. Ranking second is Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) , which added 1.61 million subscribers -- 1.27 million on its CDMA network and nearly 336,000 on its GSM network operated by subsidiary Reliance Telecom -- ending the month with 43.8 million.
Vodafone India in third is closing in on Reliance, adding 1.41 million users for a total of 42.56 million.
State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) accounts for most of the dip in subscriber growth as it signed up 824,000 more GSM subscribers, down from the 1.18 million additions it reported in January. The carrier's growth continues to be hampered by a lack of spare capacity and its difficulties in procuring new network equipment, but it has recently placed orders with Nortel Networks Ltd. and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) to add capacity for 5 million new lines. (See BSNL Goes for More GSM Gear.)
Based on the COAI's numbers, GSM operators gained the most new subscribers in the regions of the country known as "B circles," which cover towns and villages rather than the large cities included in "A circles." B circles accounted for 2.42 million new subscribers, compared with 2.05 million additions from A circles. Metro circles -- the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata -- accounted for 687,000, while the more rural villages in C circles accounted for 1.1 million new customers.
In addition to the mobile figures, according to AUSPI, BSNL also had 4.33 million subscribers using CDMA-based wireless local loop (WLL) technology, up by 92,000 over January. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) had close to 282,000, up from 272,000.
— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading